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The Avignonesi vineyard has produced many award winning and famous wines, including their Vin Santo which is rated among the top three “desert” wines in the world. Several of the wine conoscenti here at Il Pino have tried and bought Avignonesi wines and have recommended them so we decided to do a tour and tasting at their Fattoria Le Cappezzine vineyard which is only 15 mins drive from Il Pino, near Centoia.

We were not disappointed, for €35 we were given a two hour knowledgeable and interesting tour of the cellars and vines and tasted four of their wines including their Vino Nobile and Desiderio Merlot. We decided at the last minute to have lunch at the vineyards restaurant which was €50 a head but included 4 wines, three courses (with organic produce from their garden) and coffee, on their beautiful terrace, and the service was excellent. Although there was no discount for lunch for non drinking drivers they very kindly waived the tour and tasting fee for all of us when we bought cases of their wine as well!

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You can buy their superstar wines for your cellar if that’s what gets your cork out but they have good quality affordable wines for the dinner table as well.

In all it was a lovely leisurely well organised day out with the added bonus of some great wines to take home and we thoroughly recommend it. Take a good map though, it’s not easy to find.They advise you to book for their tour and or tasting as they limit the numbers.

Ph: 0578 724304

http://www.Avignonesi.it

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Poliziano is one of the more well known wines to come from this part of Tuscany, you can find it on the menu at Pizza Express and at Majestic Wines. Don’t assume that well known equals mediocre however. The award winning reds are worthy of any dinner party table and the Asinone, made from the sangiovese grape, is especially good. After a tour of the vineyard and a tasting we bought a case of the Asinone and a case of the white Ambrae, named after the title of a poem by the Italian poet Poliziano from which the vineyard takes its name, which makes nice everyday company for fish or chicken. We also bought their Vin Santo which was pricey but excellent.

The vineyard is about 15mins drive from Il Pino and worthwhile visiting . If you want a tour and a tasting, ring and book ahead as they restrict the numbers on each tour and tasting. When we went we were in the company of a restauranteur from Boston US and his family, who was looking at Poliziano wines to make up his wine list, so people seek this place out from much further afield than Il Pino! http://www.carlettipoliziano.com/eng/azienda_montepulciano.php?id_menu=2

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Vino Sfuso

Sfuso is basically the table wine we see in many local trattorias and restaurants.  It is ‘bulk’ wine made in a simpler way from inferior grapes.  A winery’s second or third wine if you will.  Anyway, if you’re expecting to get through a reasonable amount of wine in a relatively short period of time (can’t be too specific here, but minimum purchase is 5L and I think the wine starts to suffer after 4/5 days), then this stuff really is the bargain way to acquire reasonable, everyday quaffing material.  You will need a suitable container, something like a demijohn is ideal.

I have got a lot of mine from Casa Gialla in Camucia http://www.cortonaweb.net/informazioni/casagialla/.  A really friendly little shop, where they will let you sample all the available Sfuso (Sangiovese, Merlot, Trebbiano/Grechetto).  They also have a great selection of fine wines and foods.  Worth a visit for the latter anyway.  If you need to buy a demijohn on your first visit then there is an ideal hardware store next door.

I also tried some Sfuso at the Poliziano winery recently (5 mins this side of Montepulciano, www.carlettipoliziano.com) and it was a very good one.  At less than 6 Eur for 5L it’s price also surprisingly matched Casa Gialla.  I shall be heading there for my next fill up!  Beware though, because it’s very easy to be tempted to buy some of their Vino Nobile or Rosso!

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